Response by Fernando Echeverria, Director-at-Large
You are not alone! I’ve been in our professions for almost 20 years, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to understand how our state society helps us. We are the first to admit that we need to improve our efforts in communicating with the professionals in our state. Part of this effort is our newly redesigned web-page and social media accounts. Going forward, we hope to engage in more discussions like this with our fellow therapists throughout the state.
The NJSRC is a nonprofit, state affiliate of the AARC. There is much misunderstanding about what our state society does, and how we do it. For example, one of the most common misconceptions is that the state society board of directors and committee members are compensated for our roles. Whenever I am asked how much we get paid, I can’t help but laugh inside (sometimes outside). We volunteer for these positions not only because we are passionate about our profession, but because we know that the profession needs organized representation. Without this representation, we as a profession would not be able to react to potential changes that would affect not only the profession, but all of the individual respiratory therapists in our state. Our goal is not only to represent the profession in government issues, but to also promote the profession to the public. We promote the advancement of respiratory therapy through increasing awareness, occasionally partnering with other groups to do the same. For example, we have worked closely with the COPD Foundation to promote awareness of not only the disease, but also our roles in helping those that suffer from it improve their quality of life.
These kinds of activities provide a platform for us to raise awareness of the vital role respiratory therapists play in our healthcare system. Recently, there was a report published in the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of The COPD Foundation, which recognized respiratory therapists as key providers to this patient population. http://www.aarc.org/new-copd-care-report/
As I said, we have worked to improve our communication with our members and in doing so, we hope to encourage more members, like you, to ask questions and participate in discussions. There is no better way to gain an understanding of something then to be a part of it. There is strength in numbers, and the more support we have, the stronger our professional voice will be. When we have something to say, in promotion or support of our profession, we need the voice of the thousands of respiratory therapists in our state. Only then, can we be heard!